Things were eerily quiet when we entered that dark hallway. We just knew something bad had happened here. You could feel it, like some senseless crime that should have been prevented but wasn’t stopped in time.
Thanks to every episode of CSI or Law & Order I have ever seen, I immediately recognized the splatter pattern . A straight line right along the bottom of a doorway, marking the scene of the crime with fine particulates. It had happened in there, behind that closed semi-gloss coated door.
We eased it open and were stunned by the scene that unfolded. The air so thick and heavy with the stench, you could almost taste the droplets. We could barely see through the foul swirling haze. Furry shapes flying through the air, blurs hitting the floor with soft thuds. Drawers flung across the floor, bedding in misshapen, crumpled heaps.
I silently thanked the pharmaceutical gods for my new Prozac prescription and took a giant step in.
“My God. What. Have.You. Done in here?????”
“It was all her,” shrieked Little Son, giddy on baby powder fumes, heady with the thrill of tossing all of Baby Girl’s clothes and lovelies through the air.
Meanwhile, she was doing her best Ghost of Christmas Present imitation, coated in a fine layer of Johnson & Johnsons, rolling around in the piles of clothes and stuffed animals like leaf piles on an autumn afternoon.
And I just lost it. I was aiming for the tolerance wall at full force. Hubs looked at me, bracing for impact and backing me out of the room. I really really just wanted to scream. Seriously. And stomp my feet. And hop up and down pulling my own hair. And scream some more.
The Hubs had been at work forever that week and both of the kids had been sick. Grueling trip to doctor’s office, waiting forever on medicines. Over the next few sleepless days, I had been thrown up on twice and diarrhea-ed on twice. The second time – when I had lugged Baby Girl up to the office – I forgot spare clothes. So she spent the day running around in a shirt, diaper and one gold shoe. When she got home, she had a third accident. On my cream-colored carpet. Weeklong car problems and a flat.
I was a mom on the edge.
I grabbed my phone and texted Ginger Spice. Sending her frantic pictures and demanding that she come pick up my second born before I locked her in a closet. (And do not call CPS on me people, I wouldn’t really do that, it was just a momentary revenge fantasy. I love my kids.)
A mother of three with a particularly feisty 3-year-old herself, Ginger Spice did what any mother would do.
After laughing and laughing and then laughing some more at the pictures, she texted back.
“On my way.”
You know you have good mom friends when they don’t ask questions, they just come.
I took a deep breath, glad someone else got it, and texted no. That it was enough that she let me vent to her.
Yeah, I was sure. I couldn’t let her see the state of my house, the poop stains that wouldn’t come out of the carpet despite my frantic scrubbing, the state of my living room. It was 7:30 at night and my kids had not even had a bath or dinner yet. If Bodacious had at least been fed, I would have met Ginger at the door.
And I wondered, for like the billionth time that week, HOW DO single parents do this? How do all the moms with husbands out on location for weeks at a time cope? How do all the dads with wives traveling for work stay sane?
I even called my mother that week, which should tell you how overwrought I was beginning to feel. I told her she needed to pack up and move back to Midland because I needed more help. That was hard to do. I do not like to admit that I can’t do it all, hell I can’t even manage about half of it. And I seriously don’t like admitting that to my own mother.
The Hubs says I need to focus on what I do get right. Our kids are healthy and happy and love each other. They have parents who love each other and love them. They have a church and school that they can’t wait to get to. They have so, so much. Who really cares if things go off the rails pretty regularly here? Is it really going to kill me to wash everything she owns, remake the bed and vacuum the floor? At that particular moment, is sure felt like it.
My mother really didn’t get it. In fact, she said she hoped the kids made that mess with joy, with “reckless abandon.” Why was I so upset about it? Nothing was ruined. Vaseline and diaper cream and lotion never even came out to play with the powder. Her sage advice: let the dust settle and move forward.
I guess that’s a pretty good plan for everything, really. Pay attention Mom, my plan for moving forward involves you coming here to help me!
Help yourself to the mess my babies made. Leave your favorite baby powder disaster story for me in the comments section. I will also happily take cleaning tips. Baby wipes on the closet doors didn’t work very well and left a hazey film. Bleach wipes and hot water didn’t do anything for the poop stains, either